Had been looking forward to this series ever since it was originally announced for this spring season, so anxiously waited for it to air after the start was postponed from March to April.
Based on the light novel “もし高校野球の女子マネージャーがドラッカーの『マネジメント』を読んだら” (What if the girl manager of a high school baseball team read Drucker’s “Management”) written by Iwasaki Natsumi, this series starts off good to surprise with an incredibly powerful ending.
The premise of the series is fairly simple, the energetic Minami takes over as manager of the school’s baseball team from her friend Yuuki who is hospitalized due to illness.
To revitalize the dispirited team, Minami picks up the book “Management: Task, Responsibilities, Practices” by Peter Drucker, using its principles on business management to lead the baseball team to victory.
In that aspect it reminded me a bit of “Spice & Wolf” which mixed a romantic tale with medieval economics as “Moshidora” takes a school sports team adventure and infuses it with an original, uncommon element.
Next to the baseball team and its characters, the show spends ample time each episode showcasing Minami’s exploration in the principles of business management and how she applies them to her tasks for the baseball team.
While I usually try not to give away too much about a series’ plot, considering some occurrences in this show, find it too hard to review or write my thoughts without disclosing an important event so please be aware you will see a major spoiler further down.
“Moshidora” surprised me in offering more than just a school sports achievement genre plot peppered with the management elements, as the strong bond between Minami and Yuuki becomes increasingly important as the episodes go by.
When as a viewer one might not pay that much attention to Yuuki at first and could dismiss her from the story due to her being in the hospital, away from where the action is, you’d miss many of the telltale signs along the way.
The importance of her bond with Minami can become lost with all the focus on Minami and the baseball, which all makes Yuuki passing away near the final episodes quite jarring. Though in a sense this also helps to make those moments more gripping, helping one to understand the emotional torrent Minami is going through.
In fact quite liked how during the latter third of the series much time is spent on exploring the importance of Minami and Yuuki’s relationship, how her death affects Minami, the entire team as well as Minami’s outlook on baseball and what she’s been doing so far.
Next to a series that showcases all these characters giving it their all to achieve a set goal and grow, it shows how someone like Minami can get back up, have a meaningful life and play an important role for everyone around even after her dreams were so brutally crushed
Always get the impression it is often used in Japanese stories, but can’t help but feel the several scenes where Minami interacted with deceased Yuuki were a bit overused or too long. But perhaps I should just see it as Minami’s own mind that created that image of Yuuki to answer the lingering questions her heart so longed to have answers for?
Though am no fan of sports anime, this series pleasantly surprised me and was very moving to watch, quite the treat like “Puella Magi Madoka Magica” was, though the later is much more epic still.
Animation by Production IG is excellent and good throughout each episode, flaws are barely noticeable and the sports action scenes are realsitic and flow well, with splendid fluid animation. A welcome change compared to many other shows is that all the characters have realistic proportions, faces and hair colors, save for Ayano purple hair.
The settings and backgrounds are good though not particularly well defined for they are more subdued background artwork imagery in a painting like style, putting more emphasis on the characters, sports action or other events in the scene.
The series throwing this curve ball near the end also gives a lot more meaning to the soft, romantic opening and ending songs, with Azusa’s lovely opening track ‘夢ノート’ (dream note) and the wistful ‘大好きだよ’ (Daisuki da yo) ending by Momo.
Hikasa Youko voices the energetic Minami, you may know her from roles as Houki in “IS: Infinite Stratos”, Sera in “Kore Ha Zombie Desu Ka” or Shino in “Seitokai Yakuindomo”, but most no doubt recognize her from her voice work as Mio in “K-ON!”.
Yuuki is voiced by Hanazawa Kana who also voiced Charlotte in “IS: Infinite Stratos”, Kanade in “Angel Beats!” or Susukihotaru in “Otome Youkai Zakuro”.
With a male baseball team the voice cast is off course comprised mostly of male voice actors of whom I must confess am not very familiar with.
To those of you who like sports series or shows with strong friendships and drama, cannot recommend “Moshidora” enough as it is truly one of the gems of this spring anime season and perhaps even this entire year.